Air France-KLM Says EU States Should Harmonized Air Security

PARIS (AFX) - Jean-Cyril Spinetta, chief executive of Air France-KLM, called on EU member states to harmonize their airport security measures as a means of ensuring passenger safety, and said these costs should be borne by governments instead of airlines.

Security measures have become even more strict in the wake of an alleged foiled bomb attack on airplanes in the UK in August.

'Following the events in London, serious chaos reigns. Only 33 pct of luggage is verified in London, while in Paris it's 50 pct, and nobody is capable of saying why,' Spinetta said at the Cannes Airlines Forum in southern France.

'Once a European framework is decided, and states want to go beyond this with additional measures, then it is necessary for states to pay for these additional measures,' he said.

'In every country in the world, security is considered to be the responsibility of states. This is the case in the US. But European states have decided that security costs should be taken on by airline companies,' Spinetta added, calling the current EU system 'appalling.'

Air France-KLM spends 89 mln eur per year on security procedures at all the airports used by its network, and collects a security tax on every ticket sold.

At the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, for example, the security tax has tripled since 2001, to stand at 8.50 eur per ticket.

'The EU Commission has reaffirmed recently that it supports the idea that it's up to states to pay, and has indicated that if a state were to reimburse airlines' spending on security measures, this would in no way be considered as state aid,' Spinetta said.

He has no plans to demand reimbursement of Air France-KLM's security expenses from the French state, however.